Tag Archives: Chicago White Sox

I Was a Teenage Prospector: Frank Thomas

Thomas Minors

1990 Best

Frank was one of those guys that looked amazing right out of the gate, as soon as he was drafted, and put his cards pretty much out of reach until the scope of the early 90s overproduction became apparent. That’s part of why I treasured this Best card so much, even back then: so many people had Thomas’ 1990 Score and Topps, fewer had the Leaf, but I never saw this card in anyone else’s collection. I can’t remember exactly where I found packs of these cards, but I know that we found about half a box and, owing to the rarity, I convinced my parents to scoop up all the remaining cards.

The packs also contained some future stars such as Bernie Williams, Javy Lopez, and Luis Gonzalez, among others that I thought would be future stars at the time. The cards seem simplistic, but I think they’re actually pretty nice. Full-bleed shots were unheard of at the time, and while the font is a little low-rent and cheesy, it’s about what you would expect for that time. Better minor league cards were coming, and soon, but for now, this offered what I thought was an underrated look at an undiscovered country: the world of minor league baseball, which still fascinates me to this day.

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Card of the Day: 2002 SPx GU Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez

Just a sweetass card today.

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Card of the Day: 2003 Bowman Heritage Luis Aparicio

Just learned of the existence of the Luis Aparicio award, given to the best Venezuelan player in the majors as voted on by the Venezuelan sports writers. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies won it this year.

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I Was a Teenage Prospector: Wilson Alvarez

Alvarez UD

1990 Upper Deck

Wilson Alvarez was one of those players who, for me, had a reputation that preceded him. I read about him in some magazine back in the day, most likely early 1990, talking about this Rangers kid who was tearing up the minors and had a high upside. I was immediately captivated and wanted a card of him but, unfortunately, they were a little hard to find at the time (read: non-existent, save for minor league issues that were as out of reach for me as the moon).

So I was all ready for him to become a big-time Rangers prospect, and as the team also had Brian Bohanon in the pipeline for a team that had Bobby Witt and Nolan Ryan, I had a good feeling about the future of the Rangers pitching staff. Then, of course, Alvarez got dealt to the White Sox as part of the Sammy Sosa deal (yikes, Texas, just yikes), leaving the 1989 Topps Debut card as the only one depicting him in a Rangers uniform (and this was a good few months before that set came out). As I was somewhat into the Rangers at the time, this was kind of a mood killer, but I still looked forward to this card.

Then, of course, the Upper Deck high numbers were issued. This was becoming an annual treat for me, so I went nuts when I started to see them, pulling Wilson fairly early on and putting him in a plastic case. These days, of course, it’s not worth nearly as much – Alvarez had a decent if not great career – but the picture on the front still evokes memories of that long wait and my excitement pulling him from a pack. I wish sometimes I could go back to that simplicity in collecting, but I’m pretty happy with where I am.

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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 19 – Chicago White Sox

All right! Today we have Jeff Bittiger, John Davis, Dave Gallagher, Ricky Horton, Jack McDowell, Dan Pasqua, Jerry Reuss, Mark Salas, and Jose Segura.

I really wanted to do a standalone Jack McDowell post, but Melido Perez had cards in every single set, which made for a better overall post. McDowell was highly regarded in 1988, but he dropped off the radar after posting (horror of horrors) a 5-10 record with a 3.97 ERA. At age 22. Thank God we’re starting to get past the win-loss record thing, because McDowell was a very good pitcher in 1988.

Dan Pasqua turned out to be a damned good acquisition for the Pale Sox, too, leading the team with 20 home runs (you can tell it was 1988) and putting up a 101 OPS+ despite a .227 BA. Kind of Adam Dunn before Adam Dunn.

Jerry Reuss was a pretty damn good pitcher in 1988, too, putting up a 3.44 ERA and 116 ERA+. Pretty good considering he was nearing the end of his career at the time.

Jose Segura is an odd choice. He only appeared in 4 games in 1988 and ended up with a 13.50 ERA. Hell, his career ERA was over 9, and he pitched in only 22 major league games.

There were some interesting players that made their debut in 1988 but didn’t get cards, like Sap Randall. He played in four games that year, and he was done with his major league career. Carlos Martinez also made his debut in 1988; we’ll hear more from him in the 1989 Project.

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The 1988 Project Day 30 – Melido Perez

And so we reach the end of featured players for the project…I’ll be taking a few days off before launching Phase 2: Team Posts.

1988 Donruss Baseball's Best

Melido Perez’s early career was an interesting one. As far as I can tell, beyond being Pascual Perez’s brother, I’m not sure he was ever widely heralded when he was a Royals prospect. If he was, the numbers don’t really bear it out. 1987 was definitely a banner year for him, however, as he went a combined 12-8 with a 3.09 ERA with a combined 177 K’s in 198 innings between High A and AA. Given that year, the Royals were ready to bump him up to the majors at the end of 1987.

1988 Donruss The Rookies

I know Melido’s 1988 Donruss pictured him with the Royals (I can’t find any other cards past that), but I had never seen an action shot of him in a Royals uniform until I stumbled across this shot from the Lawrence-Journal World dated  September 5th, 1987. This is from Melido’s first major league start:

Melido said of the start, “No, I was not nervous. I feel good. It’s the same game, the same ball. Nothing is different. ” He made three starts with the Royals that September, going 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA and 60 ERA+. Not the most auspicious of starts.

1988 Fleer Update

The Royals dealt him to the White Sox in the offseason along with Chuck MountJohn Davis, and Greg Hibbard for Floyd Bannisterand Dave Cochrane. Given how careers panned out there, I’d say the White Sox won that deal, but apparently Floyd Bannister was the prize of the deal; the Yankees were even in on trying to pry him away from the White Sox, ultimately settling for the deal that sent Dan Pasqua to the Sox for Richard Dotson (both of whom will show up in the team posts). Said Steinbrenner at the time, ”I was for the left-hander, but I was a lone voice. We might have been able to get Bannister now, but they wanted prospects and I can’t hock everybody.” Kind of dispels some of the notion of George the Tyrant, but anyway, Perez was a White Sox player now, and would make his regular-season debut with the team on April 8th at the Kingdome, ultimately beating the Mariners by a 3-2 score, despite giving up two home runs and getting a no-decision thanks to lousy run support.

1988 Score Rookie & Traded

Perez’s best game of 1988, arguably, would be his October 1st outing against the Royals (oh, irony) when he threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout, striking out ten Royals hitters, including two strikeouts apiece for Danny Tartabull and Willie Wilson. In a rare show of strength in his next-to-last major league game, Mike Diaz had two RBI to help Perez bring in the win. Perez ended 1988 with a 12-10 record to go with a 3.79 ERA (somewhat aided by his team’s defense), 138 Ks in 197 IP, a 2.1 WAR, and a 105 ERA+. A pretty damn good showing for a rookie pitcher, but it would not be his finest season.

1988 Topps Traded

Melido was with the White Sox until 1991, when he was dealt to the Yankees with Domingo Jean and Bob Wickman for Steve Sax. The Yankees would end up dominating this trade, with Perez having his finest years in pinstripes. In 1992, he struck out 218 in 247 innings and posted a 138 ERA+, the highest of his career. 1993 was a down year, but he rebounded well in 1994 before dropping off in 1995 and then disappearing from the majors due to elbow surgery. He tried to make it back in 1996, but never regained his old abilities.

Wow, lots to choose from here, but I’m going with the Topps card as my favorite, even if I find the White Sox color scheme…bizarre.

And that does it for Phase 1 of the 1988 Project! I never thought I’d reach this point…it’s all downhill from here. Look for the Team Posts to start very soon.

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Finds and Sales V: You Yo-Yo

Yeah, that’s right, I managed to find a Boston Red Sox Yo-Yo last week.

This week’s sales and finds is a little unique, as I found myself thrifting when my apartment was – once again – without power, and I needed a refuge from the heat.

My biggest source of finds this week was junk wax. I found heaps of bags of donated junk wax, and picked them up with a couple of rules in mind:

  1. If a card from a set pre-1986 was visible, buy.
  2. If an Expo or National was visible, buy.
  3. If any of my PC players were visible, buy.

I pruned down the pulls to only those essentials and did what you should do with junk wax: I threw it away. It’s all part of my effort to simplify my collection. Here’s a picture of the stack of left-over cards. Some of these will be going out in trades:

Along the way I also ended up with a pack of Beanie Baby cards that was packaged in with some baseball cards. I figured hell, why not? I went for it. Here are the contents (they’re available if anyone wants them):

I also found the book Eight Men Out. I don’t know if the movie was based on this, or vice versa (I suspect the former). I’ve always been fascinated by the Black Sox scandal, so it was a must-have, and is not getting resold.

Then I found this little oddity:

It’s a snowglobe of George Mason basketball coach Jim Larranaga. Odd find, huh?

Finally, I found this box of Oriole checkers.

The concept is checkers played with Orioles and Yankees mini helmets.

Yeah, not sure what else to say about that.

So that’s it for this week’s edition. Stay tuned…

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